What's the best way to go about installing a solid state drive in a new laptop? (And is this even a good idea?)
After six years of solid service from my workhorse Dell Latitude, the combination of wonky ports, depleted battery, slowing performance, and an intermittent Disk Click of Doom has convinced me it's time to finally upgrade. Luckily, I found a great deal on a snazzy new IdeaPad Y580. According to this exhaustive review
, it's got everything I'm looking for: decent screen, powerful CPU and GPU, similar form factor, and priced hundreds less than comparable machines elsewhere.
The only real flaw is storage. I've heard phenomenal things about SSDs
-- lightning speed, low heat/noise emissions, shockproof, etc. -- and definitely wanted to make one the centerpiece of any new laptop purchase. But the Y580 only ships with a standard mechanical drive, which the review
identifies as a significant performance bottleneck in an otherwise speedy package.
One potential solution is to go for the premium model, which includes a 32GB "caching" SSD as a supplement to a whopping 1TB mechanical drive. But I get the impression that such a set-up isn't nearly as responsive as an all-SSD environment -- faster boot-up, maybe, but not a "Best. Upgrade. Ever."
system-wide turbo boost. I'd also like to avoid, in light of aforementioned Disk Click of Doom, returning to the relative frailty of physical drives for storing all my files. (And frankly, I don't fully understand how one manages a hybrid set-up. Installing the OS in one drive and media files in another? Where do programs go? It sounds awkward.)
Given these misgivings, what I'd really like to do is just buy a lower-tier Y580 with a small HDD, use the savings to acquire a full SSD separately (256GB sounds good), and swap it in when the new laptop arrives. But this has complications of its own. So here are my core questions:
- What's the most reliable ~256GB drive available today?
Not necessarily the fastest -- the difference between SSD models is peanuts compared to the step up from HDDs -- but the one most likely to last at least a few years, given reports of perilously high failure rates in earlier years. Intel is the most respected name and offers a five-year warranty, but they're relatively pricey at well over $1 per GB, so I'd be interested in hearing about other brands with respectable track records (as well as those with high failure rates to steer clear of)
- What's the best way to install a new SSD in a new laptop?
Should I clone the stock hard disk to the SSD with a migration tool, or would it be better to just install Windows 7 on it fresh? What about transferring files from my old laptop? What's the process for swapping out the drives themselves? Also, are there any tweaks I should do to the SSD that would normally be done by Lenovo pre-shipment in order to optimize it and prolong its lifespan?
- Is there any reason I shouldn't prefer a large SSD over the hybrid HDD+caching SSD?
Apart from sheer cost, obvs. I'm really trying to "future proof" this purchase and get the biggest possible performance leap that will last a good number of years, but if a hybrid drive offers ~90% of the speed of an SSD or avoids some major pitfall, then I might be willing to settle. I'd really like to shockproof my data and reduce noise/heat/power consumption, though, so it would have to be a pretty big pitfall.